Round Head Racer – Moto Guzzi LeMans MkII

Meeting someone who makes a living from doing something they actually love is a rare phenomenon, and such is the case of Mauro Abbadini. If you’re a fan of classic motorcycle racing and you live in Spain there’s a 99% chance that you’ve heard of Mauro’s ‘Classic Co Garage’. Along with his talented team he has been building and racing classic motorcycles since 1994, and to date, they’ve built just shy of 200 bikes and taken part in over 490 race events. As stated on the Classic Co. website “We enjoy getting the best out of every motorcycle we work on” and you only need to peruse their portfolio for the proof. One of the latest builds you’ll find in their lineup is the ‘Corsa #9’, a race prepped Moto Guzzi LeMans MKII, and true to their “getting the best out of motorcycles” mantra, they’ve built a bike that is better than the original in every way.

The Classic Co. Corsa #9 started life as a ’81 version of the 850cc LeMans MkII. When this bike first rolled out of the Guzzi factory in Mandello, 35 years ago it had a respectable 71bhp at the rear wheel. While that figure certainly wasn’t to be sniffed at, the bike was now destined for classic racing, so a few improvements were in order. To bump the engine’s power figure up into the triple digits its capacity was increased to 1064cc. Internal upgrades include a conversion to Porsche valve springs, an SS camshaft (for more top end power without sacrificing low-end torque) and higher compression Asso pistons. To quench the thirst of the larger, round bodied cylinders the original Dell’Orto 36mm carbs were swapped with  44mm Lectron items that suck in the atmosphere through short velocity stacks. Then, at the end of the combustion cycle, the exhaust escapes the engine via a LaFranconi Competizione racing exhaust system. The rebuilt engine now puts out 106bhp at the rear wheel, which equates to an almost 50% increase in power.

When it came to mounting the engine the stock LeMans Tonti frame wasn’t going to cut it for a bike built to win races. So, in its place is a specially designed Classic Co CroMoly frame that uses the engine as a stressed member, reducing the amount of material required to make it and contributing to the bikes drastically reduced weight. The swingarm is another CroMoly item that adds an extra 2cm of length to the Guzzi and allows the fitment of a wider, 160mm tyre. The wheels are a pair of gold 18-inch EPM magnesium rims, chosen because of their inherent weight benefits. The suspension package is a mix of fully adjustable shocks in the rear and a Marzocchi 41.7mm M1R front end.

To save on weight and to allow for easy, cost-effective replacement in the event of a spill, Classic Co has fit fibreglass bodywork to the Corsa #9. Everything from the bike’s shapely tail to its belly pan and half fairing was designed and fabricated by the Classic Co team. To finish it all off each piece was painted in a vibrant Moto Guzzi green and a bold black speed stripe was laid along the spine of the tank and tail. With the bodywork in place, the scales sit at 160kg, undercutting the stock LeMans MKII weight by a whopping 30kg.

The Corsa #9 LeMans MKII is now up for grabs on the Classic Co website for a cool €16,000. Personally, I’d be keen to slap some lights on the beast and ride it around town, but it’s more likely to feel at home with a wide-open throttle out on a track.